Project Manager and the Client

I found the first article below when scrolling through the Project Management Interest Group on LinkedIn. Check it out: (

“Becoming the Master of Client ‘Touch’” sparked my interest as I deal with clients on a daily basis. The word “touch” represents contact with a client that let’s them know you are thinking about them as well as things that may be significant to them. The article provides examples of client “touches” such as hand-delivering a proposal, sending industry specific articles to clients, and sending tools or check lists that make their lives easier.

In summary, the article highlights how the project manager has a responsibility to reach out to clients in quick, meaningful way that ultimately make the client feel comfortable with you. I see clients work with those they truly feel comfortable working with time and time again in my line of work. It is important to keep in mind all of the great skills we learn getting our MBA, but it is also very much about relationships we form.

The second article, “Managing Projects, Helping People,” suggests numerous ways that a project manager can walk the fine line of managing a project and a client relationship. Two aspects from the article I have found successful in client relationships are being honest and being an educator.

Being honest includes discussing how something may be a challenge for your team. By being honest, the client may be able to bring a perspective to the particular challenge you had not thought of previously. You can also include the client in the decision-making process to help build harmony on ideas. I have found explaining concepts, financials or outcomes in an honest light (i.e. why we are losing money on a particular portion of their business) and most importantly showing the client alternatives are a key part of the long-term relationship with the client.

Continuous education to the client can be a long-term benefit to the client/manager relationship. Often times the client hires a team, led by the project manager, because they are not knowledgeable about a topic. The article suggests using your expertise and starting from the beginning of the process explaining things at a high-level. It is important to detail and explain what things mean line-by-line.

When the project team presents a deliverable, it is key to take the time to educate the client on deliverable when can make it faster for decision-making. Six short steps can aid in successful presentation of deliverables:

  1. Start with short history of project highlights strategy and goals as well as what has been done to date.
  2. Explain what the deliverable is meant to do and how it will impact any downstream decisions.
  3. Present the deliverable thoroughly and with enthusiasm, covering the process behind the decision and variations that were discussed.
  4. Conclude presentation with a series of guiding questions
  5. Give client time to think and review before discussing
  6. Always receive formal feedback and follow-ups in writing

Project Management “Secrets”


I found this article to be on point with what we discussed during on first Saturday class and will be key to keep in mind for our field project. The article suggests nine “secrets” to project management success. “Secrets” is in quotes, as I don’t believe they are secrets per say, but more guidelines to flow when undertaking a project.


Many of these guidelines are what the class came up with when the professor asked, “What are factors of the successful project teams?” For example, they mention having the full details of the project before starting, having the correct team (and size) in place, being clear on roles and responsibilities, and having goals set. While the article refers to IT projects, the guidelines can be useful to many different types of projects.


I found a few extra pieces of knowledge woven into this article that I had not strongly considered before. First, is to have milestone goals along the project. In my career, I have worked with such short time frame projects, usually two months to four months, that we do not have milestones. Not only is it important to have milestone throughout the project, but to reward employees when the milestones are reached. The reward and appreciation should be sincere and motivational.


I know one of the categories I have to personally work on is micromanaging. Currently, I am leading a project for my work team and I find that my natural instinct is to tell the team now how to do their job. The article points out that team members should feel empowered to do their work without the project manager micromanaging. It will be key for me to have regular touch bases with my team members without overwhelming them.


Additionally, as we all know too well, e-mails on a project can be vast you have the treads of dialogue. Scrolling through e-mails is a time waster and can hinder progress. The article suggests using a digital project management application to keep track of all the important information. These applications can create tasks lists, serve as a virtual filling cabinet, and foster a discussion board.


Already with our group project we have had a ton of e-mails that gets stuck in treads. It is important to keep e-mail subject headers on point to what is contained in the e-mail. We have also started putting key information into a shared Google document in order to find easily.


Lastly, another pitfall that I tend to fall into is not leaving enough time in the project timeline for changes. Often management wants to tweak a portion of the project and if you do not have time built in for changes you may fall behind.


Are there any other guidelines the class would add to the nine in the list the article points out?